WHAT THE HELL IS IT?
It’s not depression. It’s something else. It’s a bad blanket of blur much like the San Francisco June gloom.
It’s what makes me sigh when I open my closet, reach for a sundress and retreat like there’s a sheet of glass separating my eager grasp from my flimsy intention.
It’s what wipes away my smile when I wave to a friend from afar who doesn’t see me.
It’s what cuts me off when I sing a song then forget the lyrics.
IDENTIFIED! THEN WHAT?
There are days when the fog has lifted but the gloom has not yet dissipated. Take doubt, for instance. The reason for it may no longer exist, but the feeling remains.
This cloud cover that hovers is tricky because it’s a lot like an unwanted visit from a distant relative. You know the kind? They show up, derail your schedule, make a mess of your inner sanctum. Never good news to control freaks. And all the while you have to play nice because they’re family. Family whose stay is indefinite.
But you know what I’m learning? That welcome can be overstayed. And when intruders won’t leave, then all bets are off. And when all bets are off, it’s time to give them the boot.
There is always an alternative to living with unwanted guests, thoughts and emotions. I’ve found that pulling a switcharoo can be an effective strategy.
Instead of getting frustrated when singing a song whose lyrics escape me, I think about my son listening to Tupac Shakur’s Dear Mama at bedtime. Every night for weeks now. I can’t not smile when I picture my son falling asleep to:
I reminisced on the stress I caused, it was hell / huggin’ on my mama from a jail cell
and who’d think in elementary, heeeey I’d see the penitentiary / One day
running from the police, that’s right / Momma catch me–put a whoopin’ to my backside
and even as a crack fiend Momma, / ya always was a black queen Momma
Instead of getting cozy with gloom, I welcome humor. Instead of clinging to doubt, I cultivate trust. Instead of giving in to cynicism, I tell myself maybe.
Oh, I get that they’re not banished for good. It’s all temporary.
But then again, so am I.
IN OTHER WORDS (SIX WORDS, TO BE EXACT)
Longing to see the panoramic view,
My mind’s vision is vivid, defined.
What’s before me, not so much.
I squint. I scrunch. I blink.
Damn 20/20 vision! Where are you?
So I put on my glasses.
Still, all I see is fog.
Then I remember someone’s wise words.
Shift sides. Turn slightly. Look around.
A minor adjustment, a different angle.
Then, I see the bigger picture.